Congressman Calls Out White Colleague’s Privilege In Heated Exchange

Congressman Cedric Richmond refused to allow his white colleague, Steve King, to get away with a racist comparison between New Orleans and Central America.

Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) dove into an impassioned monologue criticizing Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for making racially-charged remarks.

On Wednesday, King egregiously likened the violent death rate in El Salvador to the homicide rate in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

He made the comparison while making a case for an amendment to legislation that speeds up the return of unaccompanied immigrant children to their home countries if they haven’t been subject to human trafficking and aren’t at risk of persecution, The Hill reports.

His proposed amendment would reportedly require the Justice Department to report to Congress on crimes committed by the unaccompanied immigrant children after their release from Department of Homeland Security custody.

Richmond, who lives in and represents New Orleans, took offense to King’s remarks and did not hold back his disapproval of his colleague’s comments.

“We’re going to lose all civility in this committee if he thinks it’s appropriate to compare New Orleans to Guatemala,” Richmond interjected.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) tried to diffuse the situation democratically by asserting that, “The gentleman from Iowa has the right to make a statistical comparison between two locations.”

Richmond, however, sensed the racist implications of King’s comparison and refused to let it slide. He cited King’s white privilege as the driving force behind his insensitive comparison.

“It’s not appropriate. It’s insensitive. And it’s nothing more than traditional white privilege of ‘let me criticize a minority city,’” Richmond said.

“If the gentleman persists on it, then let’s go in the back and have the conversation about New Orleans,” he added while visibly infuriated. “... If it takes walking across over there, then I’m prepared to do that, too.”

Goodlatte continued to defend King’s right to introduce the statistical comparison, however, he did chastise King for jumping into the fray and suggesting that Richmond “remove himself from the room if he can’t restrain himself.”

“That remark is not appropriate,” Goodlatte retorted. “The issue of whether or not the gentleman can be here or not is his business, not yours.”

The fact that King thought he could determine whether or not Richmond should remain in the room is yet another example of his white privilege.

Had he been trying to grasp Richmond's perspective, perhaps the two could have come to an understanding and King could have seen the error of his ways. Instead, King chose to be confrontational and in doing so, repeatedly stuck his foot in his mouth

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Wikimedia Commons, United States Congress

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